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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Monday - September 01, 2008

From: Nottingham, PA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: My plants are choking.
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I have a trailing weed that is choking the other plants in my garden. It grows super fast and it has small white flowers. The flower looks a bit like a mini morning glory. I have tried pulling it as much as possible over the last three years but it is just getting worse and worse. I put black weed barrier down and it has worked it's way through the tarp and mulch. I have already pulled out several perennials and don't want to lose anymore. I don't think it is mile a minute weed as this doesn't have barbs nor berries. Any idea what it is?

ANSWER:

The first nonnative invasive species that springs to Mr. Smarty Plants mind is field bindweed, AKA Convolvulus arvensis. Widely distributed throughout the continental U.S. and Canada, field bindweed is in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), has white flowers and is one of the most common weeds of orchards, gardens and crop fields. Please compare your plant to the images posted on the USDA website to make a positive ID.

If you need help making an ID, please submit a request for plant identification following the instructions below:

1. Tell us where and when you found the plant and describe the site where it occurred.

2. Take several high resolution images including details of leaves, stems, flowers, fruit, and the overall plant.

3. Save images in JPEG format.

4. Send email with images attached to id@smartyplants.org. Please enter Plant ID Request on the subject line of your email.

If it turns out to be field bindweed, these four websites give you lots of information about this noxious pest.

Texas Invasives.org

University of California Davis Integrated Pest Management Program

 Montana State University  Extension

Colorado State University Extension

 

 

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